Catch and release is intended an as act of conservation. A practice of recreational fishing, caught fish are unhooked and returned to the water. However good the intention though, a mishandled fish can easily die of exhaustion or injury. A great deal of time has been spent on the refinement of techniques, awareness, and instruments that will allow fish to survive this recreational sport.

This work also led to the creation of the UN FAO Technical Guideline for Recreational Fisheries. Said techniques are encouraged among catch and release fishermen to avoid the damaging of the fish’s skin, throat ligaments, and gills. This can be a result of poor handling, tough nets, and dry surfaces.

So how does one go about it? Catch up with some of our notes:

The Lift: The best way to lift a fish out of the water is by its lips as it limits the stress and pression on its jaw and internal organs.

The Hold: Be sure to hold the fish horizontally, keeping one hand under the fish’s belly. Be careful to limit air exposure to 30 seconds.

Water Is Best: It’s recommended to not take fish out of the water at all, so if you can avoid this it’s best.

Avoid Dry Surfaces: It’s important to conserve the protective slime that covers the fish. Handle the fish with damp towel or wet glove to keep this from happening. A tip from the experts? Cover the fish’s eyes with a wet towel to keep it calm during hook removal.

To read more on catch and release the technical guidelines for best practices issues by the FAO, please click here.

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